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Monday
Nov082010

Called According to Paul: 1 Corinthians 1

I want to put this old series of posts in the favorite posts section on the right sidebar, so I’ll be reposting them from my previous Blogger blog one by one over the next few weeks. An explanation of this series of posts can be found here.

Not Herman Ridderbos.What did Paul mean when he used the word called in regards to God’s calling? How did he define it? What significance did he give to it? Those are the questions this series of posts is seeking to answer. I’ve already posted a quote from Herman Ridderbos in which he gives us his studied view of Paul’s usage of the word; the point of these posts is to check things out to see if he’s right.

I’m going to start with 1 Corinthians 1, for no real reason except the word called or calling is used of God’s call several times there, and I know this passage fairly well, so I’ve got a bit of a head start on things. What I’ll do is look at each instance of the word in the context it is used to see what I can learn about the way Paul uses the word from that. I’ll not worry too much about the exact form of the word, but look at every usage that comes from the same root, as long as it is God doing the calling. Besides the text itself, I’m going to limit myself to my concordance, because that’s a tool that most people have and know how to use.

  • Okay, here we go. Right off the bat, we have this:
    Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus… (verse 1)
    What can we learn from this verse? First of all, the call here is to apostleship. If you’ve read Paul at all, you know that he considered his apostleship to be a personal appointment from God, so we can understand that in this usage, the call is a call that is particular in nature and of some strength, like a summons, maybe. It is this call that made Paul an apostle rather than a more ordinary follower of Christ. This call also originates in God’s will or choice, and it is to something: to be an apostle.

  • Next up:
    To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…(verse 2)
    The church is often refered to by Paul as the “called” or “called saints”. Here he explains that this saintly calling is to all believers everywhere, but it is only to believers. So we can understand this call as well to be particular rather than general: to all who call upon the name of the Lord, but only to those who call upon the name of the Lord. And it is a call to something: to be saints.

  • Verse 9:
    God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
    This calling is also to something: into fellowship with God’s son.

     [After I first posted this, Brandon Watson added that this verse shows the power of God’s call,
    since the call seems to be put forward as part of the clarification of verse 8, i.e., that God will keep you firm to the end. The idea seems to be that, because God is faithful, His call is the explanation of our steadfastness in Christ.
    Here are verses 7-9 so you can see the flow of the thought:
    ….you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,  who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.]
  • Verses 23 and 24:
    we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
    In these verses we see a little of the power within the call of God. The message of Christ crucified (or the gospel) is, in general, something that is despised as worthless or troublesome. It is offensive the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. However, there is an exception: to those who are called, from both Jewish people and Gentile people, the message of Christ crucified becomes the power and wisdom of God. This call then, changes how the message of the gospel is perceived. This is also a particular call rather than a general call, for it is to certain Jews and Greeks out of the Jews and Greeks in general.

    There’s another statement in this passage that is parallel to this one, so let’s put the phrases from the parallel statements side by side to see if we can glean a little more about the meaning of the words. The parallel statement is in verse 18:
    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    Putting the two side by side:

    the word of the cross/
    the preaching of Christ crucified

    folly to those who are perishing/
    a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles

    but to us who are being saved/
    but to those who are called

    the power of God/
    the power of God and the wisdom of God

    Paul statements equate being called with being saved. It is “those who are called” who are “us who are being saved.” This is a call that saves. This is a particular call, then, and a call with the power to save.

  • Verses 26-28:
    For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are…
    These verses are interesting because they show us again the parallel between God’s choice and God’s calling. God calls what (or whom) he chooses.

    This passage also stresses the insignificance of what (or who) is called. It is an “out of nothing” (things that are not) calling. This wording reminds us of God’s creation of the world out of nothing by command, suggesting to us that this calling, like God’s command in creation, is a creative command.

    Thats it. We’ve gone through the whole chapter. Since this is all very rough, and what you are reading is more or less a bunch of study notes, I’ll ask what you see that I missed. What can you see in this passage about the meaning of the word called or calling when it is used by Paul in regards to the call of God?

    All scripture quoted from the ESV.
  • Monday
    Nov082010

    November of Thanksgiving 8

    You can get this button from Lisa of Lisa Notes.I’m thankful for work. I have work I need to do today—and probably tomorrow, too—and I’m not enthusiatic about it. In fact, I get tense just thinking about it. Last week I filled holes, sanded the filler, and painted the top part of the dining room walls. (I have a chair rail dividing top from bottom.) The painting was fun because I was excited to see the finished results. (Which reminds me: I’m also thankful for CIL paint colours Misty Glen and Chalk.) Now, today, I need to  put things back on the newly painted walls, which is turning out to be a big job because I’m changing things up as I go. Then I need to restore order to the rest of the house. I let it get embarassingly disordered and dirty around here while I focused my attention on the paint job. This is the part of the whole job that I’m not finding fun.

    But work‚ even work we don’t like, is a good thing. It gives purpose to our lives—purpose to my life—and I’m thankful for it. And when it’s all done, I’ll be thankful for that, too.

    Others thanking God today:

    Update 8pm PST:

    What are you thankful for today?

    I’ll be back this evening to add any more thanksgiving posts I find (or that you point me to). As more people participate, it gets more likely that I’ll make mistakes in my posting, so if I miss your post or mess up a link, please tell me. And remember, if you miss a day or two, you’ll need to give me a heads up on your next thanksgiving post.

    Do you want to participate, too? You’ll find instructions here for the ways both bloggers and nonbloggers can join in the thanksgiving.

    Sunday
    Nov072010

    November of Thanksgiving 7

    You can get this button from Lisa of Lisa Notes.

    I’m thankful for the Lord’s supper, instituted by Jesus for us to observe together with the believers in our church in order to remember him and proclaim his death.

    Others thanking God today:

    What are you thankful for today?

    If I missed your post or messed up a link, please tell me. And remember, if you miss a day or two, you’ll need to give me a heads up on your next thanksgiving post.

    Do you want to participate, too? You’ll find instructions here for the ways both bloggers and nonbloggers can join in the thanksgiving.

    Sunday
    Nov072010

    Sunday Hymn

    O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

    O for a thousand tongues to sing
    My great Redeemer’s praise,
    The glories of my God and King,
    The triumphs of His grace!

    My gracious Master and my God,
    Assist me to proclaim,
    To spread through all the earth abroad
    The honors of Thy Name.

    Jesus! the Name that charms our fears,
    That bids our sorrows cease;
    ’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
    ’Tis life, and health, and peace.

    He breaks the power of canceled sin,
    He sets the prisoner free;
    His blood can make the foulest clean,
    His blood availed for me.

    He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
    New life the dead receive,
    The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
    The humble poor believe.

    Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
    Your loosened tongues employ;
    Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
    And leap, ye lame, for joy.

    In Christ your Head, you then shall know,
    Shall feel your sins forgiven;
    Anticipate your heaven below,
    And own that love is heaven.

    Glory to God, and praise and love
    Be ever, ever given,
    By saints below and saints above,
    The church in earth and heaven.

    On this glad day the glorious Sun
    Of Righteousness arose;
    On my benighted soul He shone
    And filled it with repose.

    Sudden expired the legal strife,
    ’Twas then I ceased to grieve;
    My second, real, living life
    I then began to live.

    Then with my heart I first believed,
    Believed with faith divine,
    Power with the Holy Ghost received
    To call the Savior mine.

    I felt my Lord’s atoning blood
    Close to my soul applied;
    Me, me He loved, the Son of God,
    For me, for me He died!

    I found and owned His promise true,
    Ascertained of my part,
    My pardon passed in heaven I knew
    When written on my heart.

    Look unto Him, ye nations, own
    Your God, ye fallen race;
    Look, and be saved through faith alone,
    Be justified by grace.

    See all your sins on Jesus laid:
    The Lamb of God was slain,
    His soul was once an offering made
    For every soul of man.

    Awake from guilty nature’s sleep,
    And Christ shall give you light,
    Cast all your sins into the deep,
    And wash the Æthiop white.

    Harlots and publicans and thieves
    In holy triumph join!
    Saved is the sinner that believes
    From crimes as great as mine.

    Murderers and all ye hellish crew
    In holy triumph join!
    Believe the Savior died for you;
    For me the Savior died.

    With me, your chief, ye then shall know,
    Shall feel your sins forgiven;
    Anticipate your heaven below,
    And own that love is heaven.

    —Charles Wesley

    Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

    Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.

    Saturday
    Nov062010

    November of Thanksgiving 6

    You can get this button from Lisa of Lisa Notes.I’m thankful for the resurrection of Jesus. For one thing, it is because of my identification, through faith, with Christ’s resurrection, that I am new creation—old things have passed away and new things have come.  It is because of Christ’s resurrection that I have new life.

    What’s more, my union with the resurrected Christ means that I will be raised with an incorruptible body to live forever with him. There was a time in my life when I didn’t focus much on this promised blessing from God, but now, with a little more life (and death) experience, I understand better how important those incorruptible bodies are. I’m thankful that the resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for bodies that are more real, more substantial (and permanently, eternally so) than our corruptible bodies that don’t work as they should, that die a little each day, and that desire things that destroy us. Yep, I’m really thankful for the resurrection body I’ll have one day—a resurrection body that will come to me because of Christ’s resurrection.

    Others thanking God today:

    Update 8pm PDT:

    What are you thankful for today?

    I’ll be back this evening to add any more thanksgiving posts I find (or that you point me to). As more people participate, it gets more likely that I’ll make mistakes in my posting, so if I miss your post or mess up a link, please tell me. And remember, if you miss a day or two, you’ll need to give me a heads up on your next thanksgiving post.

    Do you want to participate, too? You’ll find instructions here for the ways both bloggers and nonbloggers can join in the thanksgiving.